The Digital Marketers Guide to 🖋Content Writing Styles 🎩
Written by Andrew Ansley and published
Not all content writing is created equal.
In fact, there are several types of content that all have unique benefits for your brand presence. The better you understand how and when to use each content writing style, the better the ROI you’re going to get from your content.
Why is that?
“The Rule of 7”, coined by David Ogilvy, states that your users need to see an offer about 7 times before they buy. This could be a free offer or a paid offer. It could even just be you introducing your brand with some cool info or a fun video.
If your users see the same content styles from you over and over again, it could weaken your offer. They’ll grow bored. Not to mention the number of users you’ll miss if you’re only delivering content one type of way.
But if you’re able to diversify your content styles, it’ll keep your users engaged. This will elevate your reach and help you build a stronger brand presence online.
So let’s go over some of the best writing styles you, as a digital marketer, can take advantage of in today’s digital landscape.
This is our staple at Raven Tools because of its sheer power to generate organic traffic.
Users rely on several different search engines to find answers. Google, Bing, and Yahoo are the big three you’ll hear about most often. But make no mistake––hidden competitors exist. Ask.com, DuckDuckGo, and even AOL are still maintaining an active user base that’s searching every day.
If you can create content that appeals to the search engines, you can reach your target audience. This visibility will bring you residual traffic as long as you remain at the top of the search rankings.
What makes SEO content special?
SEO content is the only form of content marketing where your audience is actively searching for your solution. If we’re to compare it to fishing, you’re putting out bait to hungry fish that are looking for a worm––whereas other types of content are trying to entice fish that aren’t looking for a meal but might be feeling gluttonous at the moment.
Check out this post on SEO content writing to get it right.
If all of your friends and colleagues are talking about how great a movie is, are you more likely to check it out? What if everyone said the movie was bad? You would probably skip it, right?
Now, take that level of influence and apply it to someone with a large, dedicated audience. Not only that, but their audience happens to be your target audience. Imagine how powerful of a connection that could be for you.
Getting the right Influencer to endorse your product or service could catapult you to the top of your industry. Here are some ways to get it done:
- Invite Influencers to do in-depth interviews on your platform
- Network with them organically and become friends
- If you have a physical product, surprise them with a gift in the mail and ask them to shout it out on Instagram
- Pay Influencers for sponsored posts on blogs and podcasts
- You can also pay them for shout outs on platforms like Instagram or their blogs and podcasts
Do these and watch your brand presence grow rapidly.
Email content is currently one of the most debated content styles. Many digital marketers will say that email is dead, but statistics prove that’s not the case at all. There are currently 3.7 billion email users worldwide––almost twice the size of Facebook’s user base. And users send over 260 billion emails per day. Still think email is dead?
The truth is that email is a unique animal in the marketing game. It’s inundated with spam. This makes the competition thick and the user base more skeptical. But if you can build a relationship with your list, you can have a successful and lucrative email presence.
Unlike Email, social media platforms have a wide variety of users who tend to love being sold to––as long as it’s targeted. People use social media to keep in touch not just with their loved ones, but with their favorite brands and Influencers.
Social Content is usually much shorter in form. You can put out a single 140 character Tweet that gains massive reach through retweets. You can even post a photo of your product on Instagram with a short caption and users will scramble to buy it.
The key is remembering the operative word of social content: “social”.
The content might be shorter, but it’s twice as important to replace the length of content with conversations. Ask questions, give advice, joke and play with your audience.
It’s an online space for quality time and bonding as much as it is a space for delivering your message. So, make sure you’re interacting with your followers and building relationships. That’s what social media is all about.
Viral Content Writing
You probably know that viral content gains a wide reach on the internet in a short time. This is because it generates a massive amount of buzz and shares. From cat videos to provocative ads like Nike’s collaboration with Colin Kaepernick, there’s no shortage of viral content on the internet.
With that, you’d think viral content started with the internet, but even The Bible proves that’s not the case. Still, before the world wide web, television commercials were the only form of viral content marketers were using.
Once video marketing hit the web, digital marketers realized they could do better. Now you can reach a global audience with a tenth of the budget. It didn’t take long for marketers to hit the digital streets to answer one question:
What makes content go viral?
The BuzzSumo team analyzed data from 100 million articles to find the answer.
They found 9 guidelines supported by data:
- Long-form is more shareable than short-form content
- Images increase engagement and shares especially on social media
- Invokes awe, laughter, or amusement
- Lists and Infographics
- Ten is the magic number for lists
- More trust = more shareable
- Influencers have a multiplying effect
- Re-promote old content
- Tuesday is the best day to share
Use these when writing long-form content to increase your chances of going viral.
Some creators grow their audiences by releasing a lot of anecdotal content. This isn’t an accident. It’s proven that storytelling is a brilliant driver of engagement, shares, and conversions. But there are other content creators who stand out not by sharing stories and theory, but by adding data to the mix.
Data-driven content is a great way to gain authority and credibility in your industry. Trust goes a long way towards conversions. Leaders like Neil Patel, Tim Ferris, and BuzzSumo leader Noah Kagan all lead with data first. The results have been astounding. They’ve all grown massive audiences who love to geek out over data they can trust.
Data-driven Content is two-fold in its creation. You don’t just add a lot of data to your content to build authority with your readers. You also use data in your content planning to decide what topics to write about, how to share them, and when. Allowing data to run end-to-end with your creative process is how you truly win with this style of content.
Editorial content, in a nutshell, is “news” content––and it is another way to boost your brand authority and credibility within your niche. You won’t want to write this content yourself. That defeats the purpose. Instead, you’ll want to connect with a PR team or your own network of journalists and news/podcasts hosts.
Make a list of shows and publications you’d like to be featured in and see how to go about grabbing that feature. You’ll want to avoid doing sponsored ads if you want authentic editorial features. Instead, the publication will decide that your business, product, or service is something their readers will want to know about.
There’s a core difference in delivery:
- The user sees an ad that’s trying to sell them a motorcycle
- The user sees a 4-page spread detailing the journalist’s experience with your particular bike with an open-ended review.
With the latter, your audience is going to gain the full experience of interacting with your product.
If written well, it will get more sales and more eyes than a single page photo ad in the same magazine.
Press Release Content
A press release is a brief document. Businesses release them to media outlets to mitigate or announce their involvement in a specific event. Usually, this involves “newsworthy” material.
For example, Tesla’s PR team might send a press release to announce when their self-driving cars become available to the public. This would be a great press release for promoting a product.
On another note, Tesla did do a press release when Elon Musk decided to smoke marijuana during a podcast interview. This mitigates any damages that might have had with shareholders. This is a handy and common use of press releases to mitigate PR issues.
Press Releases are the business’s way of communicating with the public on a mass scale. Whether it’s used to set the record straight or push a promotion, it’s up to the media outlets to decide whether your press release is newsworthy. So you’ll want to work with your PR team to make it good.
The technical content team at a business develops user manuals and guides. You might wonder what this has to do with digital marketing. The answer for SaaS companies? Almost everything.
Front-end marketing is for before your user buys the product. But SaaS companies have another hurdle after the payment line––is the usability so good that the new user will keep the product?
You log into a new app and a little bubble pops up to start guiding you through how to use the app.
You have a certain set of expectations you want the software to meet to fulfill a specific promise. But what if the technical writers didn’t grasp that? This happens a lot. It’s because the technical writers are too in tune with the functionality of the product, and not the user experience.
Even with robust software and web applications like Facebook, users are there for one thing. Everything else is tangential––and if they have a hard time getting the one thing they want out of it, they’re more likely to ask for a refund or cancel their membership. So you see, technical content is an extremely important marketing tool for retaining members.
Case Study Content
“If your friends jump off a bridge does that mean you’re going to do it too?”
While most people answer “no” to that question, a simple YouTube search for bungee jumpers reveals the truth. Marketing experts have long found that the customers go where the crowd is. This is why social proof content is so important. You should always show proof that people are trying, buying, and loving your product and service.
Case study content goes the extra mile, though. It doesn’t only show that people are trying, buying and loving it––it gives insight on their actual end-to-end experience in more of a show-and-tell format.
Case Studies are a great way to show how you deliver the ideal consumer experience. It’s like a standard testimonial on steroids. And it works especially well for service-based brands delivering transformational results. It’s your best shot at showing your prospects that a long working agreement with you is time well spent.
Your brand message is your brand’s core message. Your content should represent it. But for that to be the case, you need to know what your brand message is. This means you have to take the time to actually write it with purpose.
Take Subway, for instance.
On the surface, their brand message lies in their tagline “Eat Fresh”. But if you look at their promotional content, it all derives around that basic principle. Your brand message should be the first piece of content you write. And it’s also the most important.
Your brand message consists of a few different core pieces of content. Create a new document and develop these core pieces of your brand’s identity:
- Brand promise
- Positioning statement
- Target audience
- Mission statement
- Elevator Pitch
- Pillar Topics
- Note the tone of voice
Make sure they’re all aligned with each other, your customer research, and your service. Also, make sure they set you apart from your competitors.
Now you have your brand message down. From here on, use this document as a tool in conversations and content. Make sure every message your brand delivers to the world is coming from the same core principles that will drive your success and growth.
What Content Writing Style is Best?
There are a lot of content writing styles, and they all have their own superpowers. If you’re wondering what to do now, the answer is simple: Start with one.
Find the content style that’s most appropriate for your digital marketing business or client right now. Put your content team on mastering it and implementing it. Add it as a permanent addition to your content marketing strategy.
Once you get your systems set and functioning effectively with that style, just come back and choose another to add. Before long you’ll have a robust, high-ROI content marketing strategy that’s building brand visibility all over the web.